Top ten cookies of LA lists abound. But they’re all for grownups, and tend to feature flavors and versions that kids don’t want. Rye flour, extra dark chocolate, green tea extract: while they ring our bell, kids crave a gooey, rich, decadent not-plain-but-not-fancy cookie. Like Grandma makes. Or like Grandma would make if she were a professional baker. These are the very best spots in town for an afterschool or anytime cookie treat that will delight your wee top chefs. (And make you feel like a kid again, too!)
Milk Jar Cookies
With Milk Jar’s warm, rustic interior, you feel like you’re lounging in Grandma’s kitchen while eating her cookies. Beautiful farmhouse style tables beg families to linger over some of the most scrumptious cookies in town. These dense cookies manage to stay just barely this side of too-sweet and too-gooey, which renders them prefect, in our opinion (and that of the kids we’ve surveyed). Individual cookies hardly come cheap at $3 a pop, but they’re large enough in size to satisfy any sweet tooth. Broguiere’s Milk and Sightglass Coffee’s Coffee are on tap as well to wash down every last morsel. They also serve one of the only gluten free cookies in town that is every bit as amazing as it’s floured counterpart.
Gotta try flavor: The Banana Split brings all the kids to the jar. But we can’t pass up the plain old chocolate chip.
5466 Wilshire Blvd.
The cookie ingredients look designed for parents: Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Callebaut & Guittard chocolate, and AA sweet creamery butter. But the cookie menu is all kid. Birthday Cake. Caramel-Pretzel. Frosted Flakes. Peach Cobbler Cookies. Pancakes & Bacon. Churro. Glazed Donut. Flavors at this Santa Monica shop are from the mind of a baker not afraid to think outside of the chocolate chip (though there is classic Chocolate Chip Cookie, and it is exemplary). For your first visit, come for a birthday or family gathering, so you can get a few dozen in assorted flavors, because asking kids to pick one kind is almost impossible. Cookie flavors aren’t the only innovation here: cereal flavored milk is whipped up to wash it down.
Gotta try flavor: Honestly, nothing here has ever disappointed, so if something looks good, we guarantee it will taste good.
2448 Wilshire Blvd.
Diddy Riese makes cookies so good, they can draw a die hard Trojan to Westwood. Nestled in the heart of Bruin country, this Westwood Village staple has drawn lines down the block, no matter the time of day, for over 30 years. Hungry broods wait patiently for a chance to devour soft and chewy cookies for just 50 cents each or three for $1.25 (cash only). There’s ample window counter seating inside and a few chairs along the sidewalk where you can kick back, relax and mock the drooling patrons still waiting for their turn.
Gotta try flavor: Kids love the Double Chocolate Chip (not too dark and rich for kids, the way some gourmet cookies can be) and the Candy Cookie. When it’s hot, order any two cookies with a scoop of ice cream for a fresh ice cream sandwich for only $2.
926 Broxton Ave.
Stella Barra/M Kitchen
It’s amazing that this is actually a joint known (and beloved) for the pizza because kids think of this as the cookie spot. Might be because the cookies are the size of their heads. Might be because they come in amazing flavors (Bacon Chocolate Chip and Rice Krispy Chip are kid pleasers). Might be because they manage to be crispy at the edges and chewy in the center and perfect all the way through. Or maybe kids don’t think about any of that, they just remember that the cookies are knee-weakening, mind-numbingly good. If you get one after dinner, one cookie can be shared betwixt the entire family, and all will leave perfectly sated.
Gotta try flavor: While Bacon and Krispy Treats are amazingly good, the plain Sea Salt Chocolate Chip is the place to start. And get one of the oatmeal apple cookies to go. They’re perfect for breakfast. (Ok, a very sweet breakfast!)
Stella Barra is located in Hollywood and Santa Monica. (M Street Kitchen is just in Santa Monica. All three spots serve the cookies.) Check the website for details.
All your old school favorites are made at this Downtown sweet spot, and they’re updated with just a hint of something modern. Not in a nouveau fancy way, but it a way that takes the ordinary and makes extraordinary. Like their chocolate chip cookie. It’s your classic, but with 3 kinds of chips, one of which is potato, to give it a texture and salty edge that pushes it into phenomenal. They also have a Samoa Macaroon that is a version of the Girl Scout classic that is not only amazing, it’s available year round. If they start making Thin Mints, the Scouts may go out of business.
Gotta try flavor: The Triple Chip. Salty, sweet, amazing. And while it’s a little off topic, while you’re here, sneak in one of the homemade ding-a-lings or pop tarts.
105 E 6th St.
photo: Mary A. via Yelp
Big Sugar Bakeshop
They’re justifiably known for their cupcakes and chess pies. But skipping out on the cookies would be a shame. (There’s nothing that says you can’t get both…) In jars you can ogle, the cookies taste like a small town fresh baked treat and makes you feel like you’ve stepped back to a simpler time. Both locations are in perfect spots: when you’re downtown, treats here top off a perfect day at Grand Park, after seeing a show or visiting the new Broad Museum. And the homey space on Ventura Blvd. caps a day of shopping or playing down the street at The Coop.
Gotta try flavor: The big sparkling sugar cookies are a delight for those that don’t love chocolate (they exist!), while buckeye balls (Midwesterner’s mouths salivate at the mention) and the State Fair Oatmeal cookie will balance perfectly with your Groundworks coffee.
Big Sugar Bakeshop is located in Studio City and Downtown LA. Check the website for details.
Cookie Casa Bakery
Cookie Casa is the closest we come to the cookies Mom made. They’re not huge, or crazy flavored. They’re just the right size, texture and taste to make you think that these are the cookies you’d make if you’d had the time, ingredients, commercial convection oven—oh, and talent. Because somehow the cookies here are perfectly homemade, yet perfectly perfect. No over baked edges, no almost raw middle, none of the things that plague us when we’re in the kitchen. Just really, really good cookies. This is where we go when you just want to greet the kids after school with plate of simple deliciousness, milk and a hug. (And if you pass them off at the school bake sale as your own, we won’t tell.)
Gotta try flavor: The Red Velvet Crackle makes kids very happy. As does the Chocolate Peanut Butter, which tastes like a gooey peanut butter cup. For accompanying grownups or tots with adventurous taste buds, we suggest the Molasses Ginger Sandwich Cookie, which balances the spices with a smidge of frosting.
8116 Beverly Blvd.
DeLuscious Cookies + Milk
The name says it all; they’re luscious (not other word describes the melt in your mouth factor of these cookies) and delicious. Even though this shop gears more toward delivering and shipping its delectable delights, families with undeniable cravings can stop by their upstairs nook on Highland and pick up a couple to go. At $3.50 each, these nibblers are meant for an extra special outing when you want your little cookie connoisseurs to indulge in pure decadence. It should be noted that cookies are baked to order, but DeLuscious makes extras of its most popular flavors which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you call ahead, they’ll let you know what’s currently baked and available.
Gotta try it flavor: Go classic here for the kids, and start with the Chocolate Chip, which is almost always available. VeLuscious is the shop’s tasty vegan line if you’re looking for an option without animal products, but those you must order ahead.
829 N. Highland Ave.
photo: Marissa H. via Yelp
Snookies is a Los Angeles legend for baked treats since Snookie (no, not that Snookie) got her cookies promoted on the Rick Dees’ radio show in 1984. Now located in a sweet lilac store in Glendale, Snookies serves up seventeen soft yet crumbly, rich cookie flavors, as well as brownies and muffins. They’ll also deliver them locally, if you can’t leave the house, but can’t live without your cookies.
Gotta try flavor: The Snookie Doodle is so good, even die hard chocolate loving kids often prefer it to their standby. But if you’re not sure, sample away. They always have fresh cookie samples out for everyone to try to make sure you pick the perfect flavor.
1609 Victory Blvd.
Where do you get your cookie fix for everyday treats or birthday party must-haves? We’d love to know!
–Jennifer O’Brien & Meghan Rose